Bengaluru Techie, Baffled by Stranger’s Vaccination Certificate Issued on His Number on CoWIN, Narrates Ordeal

A Bengaluru techie was surprised to receive an SMS as well as second dose vaccination certificate of a complete stranger on his number on CoWIN

The vaccination drive in India is currently underway and has now also gained steam. According to statistics from Our World Data, a total of 45.1 crore doses have already been administered, and 9.82 crore people in India are fully vaccinated, which amounts to around 7.2 percent of the population of the country. To overcome the digital divide, CoWIN onsite registrations are also being allowed and prior registrations are no longer mandatory to receive vaccinations. This, however, seems to be giving rise to a peculiar problem.

A Bengaluru techie named Madhu, recently, was completely perplexed after he received a message from the CoWIN platform congratulating him for completing his vaccination programme. “During May first and second week, I was not regular on phone and didn’t read all the messages (SMS). Just now I saw that on 11 May, I got an SMS addressed to some other name, congratulating for Covid vaccination completion. When I checked in the CoWIN portal, I saw a certificate also, of the second dose having been administered. The name of the authority that administered the dose is there as well,” said Madhu to Dataquest.

Madhu also clarified that he had not received any message for the first dose that the said person may have taken. “That person got the second dose on 11 May. Effective 28 April, the vaccination was administered after OTP verification. I’m wondering how he got verification done with my phone number?” he questions. According to the guidelines, onsite registrations also require for beneficiaries to submit a number, which will be verified prior to administering the vaccination.

CoWIN Helpline Number Offers No Help

When Madhu contacted the CoWIN helpline numbers regarding the issue, he says he was not offered any explanation apart from the problem being a technical issue. “I called 1075, which is the helpdesk of CoWIN. After much waiting, one lady picked up. She asked me what the issue was. I just said I am seeing a certificate in someone else’s name in my CoWIN portal. Immediately the lady said – We have a Technical problem, please cut this call and call again,” said Madhu to Dataquest.

When he further enquired on what the technical issue was, Madhu claims he was not given a valid reason and was even not connected with higher authorities. “This time I asked her to provide a superior’s number. Her response was that she didn’t have the authority to give any such details. I asked her to give me the escalation number and not the name of any officer or person. She again repeated that it was a “technical problem”. After waiting for a long time I asked her why she wasn’t able to explain the issue to me. Her next statement was due to improper reaction from the caller, she would cut the call,” added Madhu on his ordeal. He was finally put on hold and was not offered any resolution on the matter.

Several Other Have Faced a Similar Issue on CoWIN

Apart from Madhu, several others have reported the same issue. “I see the name and other details of an unknown person on my Cowin and also received an SMS that the person has been vaccinated. How is it even possible without OTP,” asks B Bareja.

“Some unknown person has used my CoWIN account for scheduling vaccine appointment. I have access to his details, and vaccine certificate also from my login! This is a clear breach of privacy,” says another such person.

Possible Reasons for this Error and How to Rectify the Same on CoWIN

The reason for this error seems to have started after onsite registrations began for the COVID-19 vaccination drive. It is most likely a human error, and an option has been provided on CoWIN to address this issue. Users facing this problem will have to login to the platform and choose the “Report Unknown Member In Your Account” option. Users can select the name of the member they wish to remove, and the account will be updated accordingly. Citizens need to take care while removing members as this process is irreversible.

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